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EMMA

From the Simply Small series

This sweet and simple offering is ideal for sharing one-on-one or for featuring with a small audience in a program...

This volume in the Simply Small board-book series introduces Emma, a little hedgehog with a heart of gold.

Emma and her three sisters exhaust themselves trudging along after Daddy up a steep hill. Inspired by the sweet scent in the air, Emma picks flowers and hands one to each of her three wilting sisters. They each give her a kiss in return, as does her proud father, and that makes: “Three flowers, / four kisses, and / five hedgehogs / —happy at home.” This final spread shows the five critters resting all cuddled together in a contented clump, with Emma’s sisters still holding onto their precious flowers. The simple, uncluttered illustrations complement the sparse but apt text. The only things pictured are the hedgehogs, the hill and the flowers, all of which are drawn with very thick, bold outlines. The sky is rendered a soft pink, the hill a light green and the hedgehogs shades of tan, with the blue, white and yellow flowers adding a bit of variety to the palette.

This sweet and simple offering is ideal for sharing one-on-one or for featuring with a small audience in a program celebrating family or, even better, small acts of kindness and love. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-897476-93-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

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THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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SMILE, POUT-POUT FISH

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to.

This simplified version of Diesen and Hanna’s The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) is appropriate for babies and toddlers.

Brief, rhyming text tells the story of a sullen fish cheered up with a kiss. A little pink sea creature pokes his head out of a hole in the sea bottom to give the gloomy fish some advice: “Smile, Mr. Fish! / You look so down // With your glum-glum face / And your pout-pout frown.” He explains that there’s no reason to be worried, scared, sad or mad and concludes: “How about a smooch? / And a cheer-up wish? // Now you look happy: / What a smile, Mr. Fish!” Simple and sweet, this tale offers the lesson that sometimes, all that’s needed for a turnaround in mood is some cheer and encouragement to change our perspective. The clean, uncluttered illustrations are kept simple, except for the pout-pout fish’s features, which are delightfully expressive. Little ones will easily recognize and likely try to copy the sad, scared and angry looks that cross the fish’s face.

An upbeat early book on feelings with a simple storyline that little ones will respond to. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-37084-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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